Honors and gifts were bestowed on the more than 150 "mothers and mother figures'' who attended the fourth annual Mother's Day luncheon today at the Los Angeles Mission on Skid Row in downtown Los Angeles, mission officials said.
Mission residents invited their mothers and honored them with a sit-down dinner. Each mother, whether a resident or guest, got a Mother's Day gift.
"My mother came to the Mother's Day luncheon last year, my daughter didn't,'' said Allison Blackhall, who used to live at the mission. "This event gave my mother hope for my future and that she was on the verge of getting her daughter back. This event brought back a relationship with my mother.''
"It was the best Mother's Day for my mother and this, in turn, made me happy,'' she added. "I can't thank the Los Angeles Mission enough. This also gave me hope that I could get my relationship restored with my daughter, too.''
Blackhall and her daughter reconnected since last year. She said her daughter attended her graduation from the mission's Anne Douglas Center for Women, and now she will attend her daughter's graduation from school next month.
Special gift baskets were awarded at the dinner to the youngest mother, oldest mother and mother with the most children. Residents also performed a skit and sang for their moms.
"While students are in recovery, part of that recovery is focused toward family reunification,'' said Ana Ceravolo, director of the Urban Training Institute, the educational program at the mission.
"The Mother's Day Luncheon is one of the ways the Los Angeles Mission contributes toward family reunification,'' Ceravolo said. "We assist our students to rebuild those relationships -- with mothers, children and other family members. It can be painful for everyone to reconnect, but it is also very joyful. It is a wonderful privilege for us to serve our students in this capacity.''
The event and the gifts were made possible by donations from Ivery Summer, Porto's Bakery, OPI, Mamma's Goodies, and the "Bonnie Hunt Show,'' which provided chocolate from Rocky Mountain Chocolate.
For more than 70 years, the Los Angeles Mission has served the people of Skid Row, providing emergency services such as shelter, food, clothing and medical and dental services. The mission also has long-term residential rehabilitation programs including education, job training and placement, transitional housing and counseling.